The Holiday Guru answers your questions about flight cancellations and passport arrears

The Holiday Guru is always available to answer your questions.

As summer vacation approaches, he advises readers on everything from tackling airport queues and renewing passports to dealing with flight cancellations.

Here’s how to save your summer getaway…

The Holiday Guru advises readers on everything from tackling airport queues and renewing passports to dealing with flight cancellations

The Holiday Guru advises readers on everything from tackling airport queues and renewing passports to dealing with flight cancellations

Q. How likely do you think my flight abroad will be cancelled?

A. There appears to be a strong chance that British Airways and easyJet flights, in particular, will be cancelled. These airlines are suffering the worst staff shortages, caused by cutbacks during the pandemic. On Thursday, BA cut 130 short and medium-haul flights, while easyJet cut 30 flights. More than 10,000 passengers are said to have been affected.

Q. This sounds terrible, is it possible that I will lose my vacation at the last minute?

A. You’ll probably be fine as airlines now cancel flights well in advance – at least two weeks before departure – and it’s the airline’s duty to offer you an alternative service flying the same day. It could be with a rival airline if they don’t have spare seats.

Q. But that could mean flying on a plane that arrives late at night at my destination…

A. Very probably. However, when you are assigned another flight after a cancellation, go to the “manage my booking” page on your airline’s website to check if there is an earlier flight that day. Some airlines push people into later flights when better slots are available. You should be able to switch.

If your flight is cancelled, it's the airline's duty to offer you an alternative same-day flying service, Holiday Guru reveals

If your flight is cancelled, it’s the airline’s duty to offer you an alternative same-day flying service, Holiday Guru reveals

Q. Is there a way around cancellation threats?

A. Yes, it may be best to book a mid-week flight if you are traveling in the height of summer, as potential staff shortages often peak at weekends, leading to cancellations. Airports are also likely to be less stressful during the week.

Q. I have read of long queues at airports. How serious are security delays likely to be?

A. It will be a matter of timing and luck. Queues should be shorter, but predicting when staff shortages will occur is just a guess as Covid continues to strike. On Monday, two-hour security delays were reported in Manchester, Birmingham and Stansted. Airports are desperately recruiting security personnel, who need extensive background checks and training. It slows things down.

Q. So how long before a flight is it recommended that passengers arrive at airports?

A. Most airports recommend arriving three hours before a flight. It’s unfair, but you’ll have a hard time getting reimbursed from the airport, airline or insurance if you miss a flight due to long lines.

According to the Holiday Guru, most airports recommend arriving three hours before a flight

According to the Holiday Guru, most airports recommend arriving three hours before a flight

Q. Are the security delays we are seeing reflected when checking baggage at most airports?

A. Again, this could be due to timing. If you happen to arrive during a shift change, you could experience long delays, especially if multiple flights arrive simultaneously. Recently Heathrow has had baggage delays of over an hour – and in the summer it could be worse.

Q. My passport needs to be renewed — will it be possible to get a new one by August?

A. Touch-and-go. The Home Office advises travelers to apply for passports “as soon as possible”, as the official target of renewing passports within ten weeks is regularly exceeded. Staff shortages and an increase in passport applications are blamed.

The holiday guru says the question is whether travelers will be able to renew their passports in time for the August holidays

The holiday guru says the question is whether travelers will be able to renew their passports in time for the August holidays

Q. This makes me nervous, is there anything I can do to make sure I get a new passport in time?

A. Yes, by paying extra for a 1-day premium service or the 1-week fast lane. The former costs £177 while the latter costs £142 – both require appointments and in-person collection; see ‘Get a passport urgently’ on gov.uk. But high demand means it can be difficult to secure a place. Standard apps cost £75.50.

Q. Do I need to complete a passenger locator form to return to the UK or take Covid tests before traveling overseas?

A. You no longer need to complete a PLF to return to the UK. Abroad, however, whether you need to take a test or prove your vaccination status (using the NHS app) depends on the country you plan to visit.

When traveling from the UK, whether you need to take a Covid test or prove your vaccination status depends on the country you plan to visit, reveals guru

When traveling from the UK, whether you need to take a Covid test or prove your vaccination status depends on the country you plan to visit, reveals guru

Q. How can I find out about the Covid regulations in each country to make sure I meet the requirements?

A. It is best to check the latest “entry requirements” for your destination at gov.uk. For example, negative Covid tests and proof of vaccination are required for visits to the United States. Meanwhile, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from Covid within the last six months is acceptable for Spain.

Q So should I book my summer vacation now or wait until later when things might be clearer?

A. If you are planning to go on a package holiday, book it as soon as possible. Rising fuel prices and other costs may drive prices up later, and you will be financially covered in the event of cancellation by the Package Travel Regulations.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU

If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email us at holidayplanner@dailymail.co.uk.

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